In 2004, the Langston Hughes African American Film festival began as a simple weekend series. Nearly a decade later, the festival has expanded to feature more than 40 films over the course of nine days. When guests aren’t viewing feature-length movies or documentary shorts, they can attend workshops and interactive events, all focused on celebrating black filmmakers both up-and-coming and established.
Years spent living in England made their mark on Columbia City Ale House founder Jeff Eagan. The country's particular style of local pubs fascinated him, and when he returned to Seattle in 1991, he recruited chef Jeff Reich to help him re-create that atmosphere by founding the 74th Street Ale House, the first of their triad of Seattle ale houses. The pubs dedicated their taps to local craft beers in a decade where the streets mostly flowed with basic American brews, and caught attention for their beer selection and for a fierce dedication to fresh-prepared pub fare classified as "herbaceous and hot" by the Seattle Times. Eclectic menus regularly updated by chef and Seattle culinary veteran Kathy Christopher boast gumbo with made-from-scratch stock and a breaded-chicken sandwich with garlic oil that claims a Best Chicken Sandwich distinction from Seattle Weekly.
Columbia City Ale House is the latest in their expanding endeavors, and shares with its siblings a dedication to craft brews and an upscale approach to pub fare. English and local beers flow from the 21 taps, half of which change regularly and include favorites such as Fullers' Extra Special Bitters and perennial winners from Fremont and Boundary Bay. On the menu, a grilled Reuben sandwich boasts corned beef braised in Blackthorn hard cider, and flat iron steak rubbed in ancho-chili powder and pepper stars in a southwest steak sandwich. A regular specials menu encourages culinary and libationary adventure with a recommended beer or wine pairing listed next to each dish.
Inside the ale house, light shines through geometric stained-glass windows, bought from a demolished Greek Orthodox church. Squares of the same stained glass decorate the small upper level, and arches centered on a cross stand at the top of the bar. The space reflects the English pub feel with sturdy woods, a mirror emblazoned with an Old Bailey beer logo, and servers who impersonate the Queen Mother between shifts.
In an age of high-tech multiplexes, old-time movie theaters still feel as charming as ever. Housed in a beautiful historic building with a retro marquee, Ark Lodge Cinemas works hard to retain that vintage charm, even earning nod from Seattle Weekly as 2013's Best Arts Comeback. Up on the screen, family-friendly animated films, action-packed blockbusters, and high-brow art-house flicks project on three screens, allowing parents to find a lighthearted escape and kids to ponder the implications of a post-apocalyptic existence. The staff also engages the community with campy horror classics during Dark Lodge Theater nights, and by sharing owner David McRae's weekly Film Notes.
At Cinebarre, the latest action-packed thrillers and romantic comedies light up the theaters' screens?but the establishment is as much a restaurant as a movie theater. Each row of seats faces a table, and during the show, waitstaff silently peruse the theater, taking orders for cocktails and a wide variety of gourmet eats. The plates range from warm tortilla chips with house-made salsa to burgers and pizzas. To make things more fun, each dish also gets a movie-themed name: think Goldfingers (hand-breaded chicken tenders), the Bull Durham (pizza topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and sausage), or the Fight Club sandwich, which the chefs refuse to talk about.
After traveling from the end of the rainbow to the tip of the North Pole, Easter's original hippity-hoppity star is now claiming seasonal residence at the Tyson Corner Center, Arundel Mills Mall, Potomac Mills Mall, Lakeforest Mall and Marley Station. As both an adorable and educational animal, the bunny associated with Easter will be helping kids get into the spirit of egg-hunting by teaming up with professional photographers who know how to coax giggle-laden smiles out of any bundle of joy. Children can pose with the gregarious giant, embracing fluff-filled hugs, and then later enjoy their shared moments by flipping through their tangible, printed portraits and by fluttering their eyelids at their vibrant, digitally arrested stills.
Ready, Set, Bag! documents the quests of eight state-champion grocery baggers as they prepare for the National Grocers Association’s competition for Best Bagger, held every February in Las Vegas. As each contestant trains for the big event and brings order to a chaotic universe one egg carton on top at a time, their life stories and infectious love of what they do will thaw the frozen caveman hearts of any viewer. Best of all, you can stay comfortably reclined on sofa seating during the whole film, as Central Cinema’s wait staff will bring your large popcorn right to you. Practice attentive viewing before the main event with a screening of a new, hand-animated short called Leonardo, from Academy Award nominee Jim Capobianco.